Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Friday, March 8, 2013

2013 Oregon St Basketball Preview #2

After last night, I'm convinced that I no longer understand basketball.

Without defensive leader Andre Roberson, I thought the Buffs would be in big trouble against the conference leading Oregon Ducks.  When the entirety of the starting lineup was saddled with first half foul issues, I knew the Buffs would be in trouble.  Instead, in an act of defiance against conventional wisdom, CU utilized another incredible performance from the bench mob to push around a sleep-walking Oregon team to the tune of a 76-53 win.
No Andre, no cry.  From: the BDC
The Buffs so clearly out-hustled their overrated opponents that I began to feel sorry for Oregon halfway through the second half.  They just didn't have the heart, energy, and focus required to crack the Buffs in their best whole-team performance in years.   From Spencer Dinwiddie and Xavier Johnson to Shane Harris-Tunks and even Beau Gamble, every player in home silver played above their normal.  Against that kind of landslide, few would have a hope in hell, but Oregon looked particularly out-of-place on the court.  It was shocking to see how easily they rolled over. The Ducks were ostensibly playing for a conference title, yet came out dispassioned and lazy, missing free throws and lay-ups ad nauseum.  Maybe no one wants to win this damn league...
Not 'Boyled.' Roasted.  From: the BDC
Credit to the Buffs, they took advantage of this terrible Oregon performance.  Without the nation's leading rebounder, the Buffs still managed to out-rebound a solid rebounding basketball team by four.  Without the league's best defender, the Buffs still managed to play such wrenching defense that Oregon seemed to sag at the mere thought of attacking it, shooting 2-12 from deep, and a lousy 27% from the field in the first half.

On offense, despite foul trouble suppressing minutes, Spencer Dinwiddie and Xavier Johnson led the way by combining for 39 points.  XJ in fact got his 22 in as many minutes of play, which hurts my head even thinking about it.  As for Dinwiddie, his 17/7/6/1 statline is a thing of beauty, restating his case for Pac-12 POY consideration.  Additionally, his withering defense held Oregon star E.J. Singler to only two points on five shots.  Singler was so lost with Dinwiddie locking him down that I thought his momma was going to have to come out and save him.
Spencer conducted another master class Thursday.  From: the BDC
But the win goes deeper than the starters.  Jeremy Adams, Shane Harris-Tunks and Xavier Talton all played huge reserve minutes, keeping the team afloat when Oregon looked poised to get up off the mat.  The trio combined for 14 points, and brought buckets of heart to the court in every one of their combined 54 minutes

The win silences critics who bizarrely thought the Buffs were creeping towards bubble-danger territory, and keeps dreams of a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament on life-support for another 36 hours.  It also marks the third-straight 20-win season for the Buffs, a program record, and keeps a record-tying 21-win regular season campaign in reach.  A win Saturday against OSU would end the season in style, sending the team off to Vegas on a high-point, and setting them up for a signature Tad Boyle post-season run.


Happy Senior Day Eve!  There's surprise late add to the festivities that I'll have more on later today.  Beyond the ceremony, however, the Buffs have a chance to cap the season with a big home win.  Of Colorado's nine losses this season, seven of them have come in weekend games (five of seven in conference), leaving me to hope that the positive distraction of a Senior Day celebration will shake up the weekend rut.

In addition, AllBuffs, the C-Unit, and former Buff Arthur Jaffee's company StacheTats are teaming up to supply the Pac-12's best student section with some cool gear for tomorrow in support of #MayorStacheMarch.  For the rest of us, our assignment is to wear GOLD in support of the C-Unit's #GoldOut.  All-in-all, it should make for a fun atmosphere in the CEC.

Seeds are at stake in Boulder.  A win clinches at-worst a #5-seed for the Buffs, and OSU needs the win for any hope to stay out of the conference basement.  Should CU prevail, this could be a preview of the first-round matchup in Sin City.

Everybody, drive safe, stay patient despite the snow, and I'll see you in Boulder Valley tomorrow.

Tip-off from the snow-capped CEC is set for 2:30pm MT Saturday.  Coverage can be found on Pac-12 Network, with Mark Johnson moving his radio broadcast to AM760 because of Rockies baseball.

For reference, my preview from the first game can be found here.

Click below for my preview of the rematch...

When last we met - 

Spencer Dinwiddie had a perfect night in Corvallis, and carried the Buffs to a 72-68 win over Oregon State.  The win completed a road sweep in Oregon, and got the Buffs ready to take down Arizona the following week.
Good.  From: the BDC
To say Dinwiddie was perfect undersells the point.  Spencer was 6-6 from the floor (4-4 from deep), and 8-8 from the line for a game-high 24 points (along with four assists), making a mockery of the Beavers' attempts to zone-out Colorado.  He did his damage late (17 of his 24 points were scored in the second half), and was the biggest reason that the Buffs were able to notch the come-from-behind win.  Said Coach Boyle, "(the difference between CU and OSU was that) we had Spencer Dinwiddie and they didn't."

Of course, it also helped that OSU was in a giving mood.  The quick-playing, and oftentimes sloppy, squad coughed up a dizzying 21 turnovers (10 CU steals).  With Dinwiddie pouring in the shots, those TOs were fatal.

Since then... - 

The Beavers have stayed lousy.  They've lost five straight, including a loss at Utah last night, to stay in contention for the Pac-12 cellar.  By most accounts, much like their rivals from Eugene, they failed to show up against their home-standing opponent.  OSU is beyond disappointing at this point - they're just a bad team.  A fact I expect will put Coach Craig Robinson's job status in serious jeopardy.
Utah made the Beavers look bad last night.  From: the AP
They're a losing absketball team for one reason: they can't stop opponents from scoring.  In conference play, they're 11th in defensive efficiency, coughing up more than 1.07 ppp.  They've only held opponents under 70 points four times in league play, and have been torched for 80+ by a Pac-12 opponent four times.  Their Achilles' Heel is shot defense, where they allow opponents to post an eFG near 52%.  No amount of scoring will make up for that.
As red-hot as Roberto Nelson is, he can't out-score the porous Beaver 'D.'
Not as if they don't try to outscore their own poor defense, however.  They play fast and aggressive, and have scored over 1.01 ppp against conference foes.  Roberto Nelson has been especially productive, as he's averaging 20.5 ppg since playing the Buffs.

Why things could be different - 

Why else, 'Dre's still sick.  Not like Stanford sick, where he's still able to run out of the tunnel and drop 24/8 on some bitches, but real sick.  Mono was briefly invoked Thursday night, before the CU SID office quickly pleaded "viral illness" instead of "viral infection."  Regardless, he's probably still out tomorrow, leaving it up to the Buffs and the bench mob to once again step up in the absence of a key post player.

Beyond a 'Dre-less roster shuffle, however, both teams are playing comparable ball to last month.

Prediction - 

There is a definite danger tomorrow.  The Buffs have been prone this season to laying an egg after a big game, coming out flat against lesser opponents.  If Nelson and Ahmad Starks get hot from outside, the Buffs could get embarrassed by the sputtering Beavers.

Still, after what I watched last night, if CU can bring even half of that energy and heart with them to the CEC, there's no way a checked-out Oregon St squad is going to beat them.

I'll say they send Sabatino and Shane out in style, and cruise to a nonchalant win.

CU 78 - OSU 65


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